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Maryland Begins to Gradually Reopen Its Economy

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a new Executive Order (EO) lifting Maryland’s Stay-At-Home Order and allowing the reopening of certain businesses and facilities, subject to limitations and local regulation.

Maryland Adds Teeth to State Mini-WARN Law

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has announced his decision to allow Senate Bill 780 (New Mini-WARN Law) to become law, resulting in key changes to Maryland’s Economic Stabilization Act. The New Mini-WARN Law will take effect on October 1, 2020.

Maryland Initiates its Reopening Plan While Washington, D.C. Extends its Stay-at-Home Order and Implements Face Covering Requirement

As the world slowly returns to some semblance of normalcy, the District of Columbia, Maryland, and Virginia recently announced varying plans as to when they will reopen and what reopening will look like. Virginia previously unveiled its three-phase reopening plan. Following Virginia’s lead, Maryland also announced it would follow a three-phase roadmap to reopening the state. Unlike its surrounding jurisdictions, however, the District of Columbia extended its Stay-at-Home Order and announced it is not yet ready to enact a reopening plan. D.C. also imposed mask or face covering requirements upon individuals and essential businesses in the District.

Maryland Enacts Mandatory WARN Act Obligations for Even Small Job Actions

Maryland recently enacted amendments to its Economic Stabilization Act to require that an employer implementing a “reduction in operations” must provide 60 days’ advance notice to employees and others, and also provide continuation of health, pension, severance and/or other benefits to affected employees on terms yet to be developed by the state secretary of labor. These significant obligations are triggered by the closure of all or a portion of operations affecting as few as 15 employees, as well as by relocations of operations. The change was enacted on May 7, 2020, as a result of Governor Hogan’s decision not to veto legislation passed in March. The new law will be effective on October 1, 2020.

Key Legislation Emerging from Maryland and Local Ordinances to Remember

It is safe to say that spring 2020 will not soon be forgotten. While the COVID-19 pandemic dominated the news and the attention of federal and state governments alike, the Maryland General Assembly passed several new laws affecting the workplace. In addition to the emergency measures implemented to address the economic impacts of the pandemic, new laws affect worker safety, wages, discrimination, and workers’ compensation. Some of these laws require Maryland employers to affirmatively make changes to their policies and practices.

Maryland Governor Outlines Phased Reopening Plan Post-COVID-19 Shutdown

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has introduced the Maryland Strong: Roadmap to Recovery, a three-stage plan for the state to restart its economy and begin lifting COVID-19 restrictions.

Maryland Mandates Face Coverings at Retail Stores, On Public Transportation under COVID-19 Emergency

People in Maryland must wear face coverings at retail stores (i.e., grocery stores, pharmacies, liquor stores, and restaurants) and on all forms of public transportation under a new Executive Order signed by Governor Larry Hogan. The Order also establishes other physical distancing requirements for retail establishments.

Maryland Issues Stay-At-Home Order; Travelers Into Maryland Ordered To Self-Quarantine

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed a new Executive Order (Order) that mandates all individuals living in Maryland to stay at home unless they work in “Essential Businesses,” are engaged in “Essential Activities,” or are engaged in other limited activity. The Order went into effect at 8:00 p.m. on March 30, 2020, and will remain effective until after the termination of the state of emergency and the proclamation of the catastrophic health emergency has been rescinded, or until rescinded, superseded, amended, or revised by additional orders.

What Employers Need to Know About Maryland’s Approach to COVID-19

Maryland has taken far-reaching and proactive steps to minimize the impact of the 2019 novel coronavirus (COVID-19), including expanding unemployment insurance, prohibiting the termination of employees who have been isolated or quarantined, limiting gatherings of 10 people or more, and closing non-essential businesses.

Proposed Project Labor Agreement in Baltimore Opposed by Large Companies, Minority Construction Contractors

An effort by several Baltimore City Councilmembers to mandate project labor agreements (PLAs) for certain large city contracts has triggered strong opposition from the city’s contracting community.

Ban-The-Box Comes To Maryland

Maryland has just joined a growing number of states and local jurisdictions — including Baltimore, Montgomery County, and Prince George’s County — in banning private employers from requesting information about an applicant’s criminal history in job applications. Thanks to the state legislature overriding the governor’s veto, it appears the ban-the-box law has taken effect immediately, so the time is now to make sure you are in compliance with Maryland’s newest employment statute.

Maryland Becomes Latest State to ‘Ban the Box’

Maryland has joined a growing number of jurisdictions by enacting a “ban-the-box” law prohibiting employers from asking job applicants about their criminal history on the initial job application. The new Maryland law, the Criminal Record Screening Practices Act, will take effect on February 29, 2020.

Maryland Enacts a Statewide “Ban-the-Box” Law

During the 2019 legislative session, Governor Larry Hogan vetoed the Criminal Records Screening (or “Ban-the-Box”) Act. On January 30, 2020, however, the Maryland General Assembly overrode the governor’s veto, making it unlawful for any employer in the State of Maryland with 15 or more employees to inquire into an applicant’s criminal history before the employer conducts its first in-person interview. The law takes effect on February 29, 2020. Importantly, the law does not preempt the more restrictive ban-the-box ordinances enacted in Montgomery County, Prince George’s County, and Baltimore City.

Maryland Again Amends its Data Breach Notification Law

In response to trends, heightened public awareness, and a string of large-scale data breaches, states continue to enhance their data breach notification laws. In 2017 Maryland amended its Personal Information Protection Act (PIPA) with expansion of the definition of personal information, modification of the definition of “breach of the security of the system”, establishing a 45-day timeframe for notification and expansion of the class of information subject to Maryland’s data destruction laws. Now, Maryland has again amended PIPA, with HB 1154 in effect from October 1, 2019, notably enhancing the requirements for a business once it becomes aware of a data security breach.

Maryland Prohibits Noncompetes for Low-Wage Employees

A new state law in Maryland now prohibits employers from requiring low-wage employees to enter into noncompete agreements. Maryland Senate Bill 328, which took effect on October 1, 2019, prohibits employers from obligating any employee who earns less than $15.00 per hour or $31,200 per year from entering into an agreement that restricts the employee’s ability to work with a new employer in the same or similar business. The statute provides that entry into such agreements with low-wage employees is against public policy and therefore void.

October Brings Employment Law Changes to Maryland

October in Maryland is a time of ripening pumpkins and falling leaves. October 1 is also the date when many (but not all) laws passed by the Maryland General Assembly go into effect. This year’s batch of new employment laws contains a couple of “tricks” for employers and “treats” for employees and the plaintiff’s bar who represent them.

Get Ready for Maryland’s New Employment Laws Going into Effect October 1

New Maryland laws governing the workplace will take effect on October 1, 2019.

Maryland Privacy Act Amendments Impact Businesses That Maintain Computerized Personal Information

On April 30, 2019, Maryland governor Larry Hogan approved a series of amendments to the Maryland Personal Information Protection Act. The amendments, effective October 1, 2019, impact data breach obligations imposed on businesses that “maintain” computerized data containing personal information. “Personal information” under the Maryland privacy act includes a broad category of personal identifiers—such as an individual’s social security number, tax ID number, or biometric data—combined with his or her first and last name.

Maryland Joins the Bandwagon: Bans Noncompetes for Low-Wage Workers

Maryland has become the latest state to revise its noncompetition law to clamp down on the practice and further restrict the types of workers permitted to be bound by such restrictive covenants.

Maryland Approves Minimum Wage Increase to $15 an Hour

Maryland has become the sixth state in the nation to adopt a minimum wage of $15.00 per hour. The state’s Democratic-controlled legislature overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s veto on March 28, 2019. The current minimum wage in Maryland is $10.10 per hour.

Maryland Raises Minimum Wage

Maryland joined the parade of states raising the minimum wage to the magic number of $15 per hour when the state legislature voted to override the veto of Governor Larry Hogan on March 28, 2019. The minimum wage for employers with 15 or more employees will increase annually commencing January 1, 2020 until it reaches the $15 per hour level on January 1, 2025. The minimum wage for smaller employers will increase annually at a slower pace, and reach $15 on July 1, 2026. The initial increase for all employers effective January 1, 2020 raises the minimum wage to $11 per hour from the current $10.10.

Maryland General Assembly Approves Minimum Wage Increase

The minimum wage in Maryland is increasing from $10.10 to $15 per hour. The Maryland General Assembly approved legislation for the raise.

Minimum Wage in Maryland Is Increasing to $15 by 2025

The minimum wage in Maryland is increasing from $10.10 to $15 per hour, approved by the Maryland House of Delegates.

Maryland Employers, Are You Ready? New Sexual Harassment Law Takes Effect October 1

Maryland’s “Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018” takes effect on October 1, 2018. The Act prohibits certain waivers related to an employee’s future sexual harassment claims and future retaliation claims for making a sexual harassment claim. It also requires employers with at least 50 employees to complete a survey disclosing the number of sexual harassment settlements in which the employer has entered.

Full Disclosure: Maryland’s New #MeToo Law May Do Little to Expose Workplace Harassment

In reaction to a litany of high-profile scandals, Maryland has joined a growing number of states in enacting legislation intended to prevent employers from sheltering perpetrators of sexual harassment. Approved by Governor Larry Hogan on May 15, 2018, the Disclosing Sexual Harassment in the Workplace Act of 2018 (DSHWA) purports to ban employment contracts requiring sexual harassment claims to be resolved through private arbitration. It also mandates that large employers report certain information about sexual harassment settlements to the Maryland Commission on Civil Rights, which in turn can make some of that information available to the public. Hampered by weak enforcement provisions and faced with a potential preemption challenge, however, DSHWA may not have a significant impact on current employer strategies for avoiding and managing sexual harassment claims.

Mandatory Sick Leave Trend Gains Steam as Maryland Joins the Fold

The Maryland Healthy Working Families Act — which establishes mandatory sick leave in Maryland — takes effect on February 11, 2018. Although the act had been vetoed by Governor Hogan in 2017, the Maryland Senate and House of Delegates successfully voted to override the veto earlier this year.

Maryland’s New Sick and Safe Leave Law Scheduled to Take Effect in February

On January 12, 2018, the Maryland General Assembly overrode Republican Governor Larry Hogan’s May 25, 2017 veto of legislation requiring Maryland employers to provide sick and safe leave to their employees. By overriding the governor’s veto, the general assembly made Maryland the ninth state to adopt a mandatory sick leave statute. Maryland’s legislation, known as the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act, provides employees with up to 40 hours of sick and safe leave annually. Unless the general assembly delays the Act’s effective date, employers will need to conform their leave policies on or before February 11, 2018.

Maryland Paid Sick Leave Effective February 12

Certain Maryland employers must begin offering paid sick and safe leave to their employees under the Maryland Healthy Working Families Act beginning February 12, 2018.

Maryland Becomes the Latest State to Require Paid Sick and Safe Leave

On January 12, 2018, the Maryland legislature overrode Governor Larry Hogan’s (R) 2017 veto of the Healthy Working Families Act, Maryland HB 1 (“the Act”), enacting legislation that requires Maryland businesses to provide covered employees with sick and safe leave. The Act says it preempts local sick and safe leave laws that were enacted on or after January 1, 2017, which may include the Prince George’s County law.1 However, Montgomery County’s law will remain in effect.2 The Act is scheduled to become effective on February 11, 2018.

The Layers of the Paid Sick Leave Law in Montgomery County, Maryland

On October 1, 2016, Montgomery County’s Earned Sick and Safe Leave law became effective. This law allows all employees, with few exceptions, that work in Montgomery County, Maryland, to accrue paid and/or unpaid sick and safe leave, depending on the size of their employer, to use for their own illness, an illness of a family member and (originally) five other specific reasons. Since its passage the Montgomery County Council has amended the law once and is considering a further amendment.

Montgomery County Sick and Safe Leave Law Amended to Permit Use for Birth, Adoption, Foster Care, and Bonding

Effective immediately, employers in Montgomery County, Maryland must allow eligible employees in the County to use up to 56 hours of paid sick and safe leave provided under Montgomery County’s sick and safe leave law for birth, adoption, foster care, or bonding with the employee’s child. The County Council adopted this measure to bridge gaps in employees’ ability to use paid leave for various combinations of parental leave under federal and state laws.

Maryland Expands Equal Pay Law to Prohibit Gender Identity Discrimination, Require Pay Transparency

Maryland Governor Larry Hogan has signed into law a significant expansion of the Maryland Equal Pay Law, including new provisions to prohibit pay discrimination on the basis of gender identity and to make it easier for employees to discover and discuss disparities in pay.

Maryland’s Montgomery County Enacts First Paid Sick and Safe Leave Law in State

Montgomery County is the first county in Maryland to enact a paid sick and safe leave law. The Earned Sick and Safe Leave Law (“the Law”) requires employers operating and doing business in Montgomery County, that employ one or more employees, to provide paid sick and safe leave to their employees who perform work in the County. It becomes effective on October 1, 2016, or, for employees covered by a collective bargaining agreement (“CBA”) in effect, on October 1, 2016, after the expiration of the CBA. The Maryland General Assembly had considered a similar bill during the 2015 legislative session, but the bill failed in session.

Montgomery County, Maryland Joins the Jurisdictions Requiring Paid Sick Leave, Alters the Employer Tip Credit

The Montgomery County, Maryland Council recently passed two amendments to the County Code that impact employers. First, the County has joined in the recent trend of mandatory sick leave laws by requiring employers with one or more employees in the County to provide paid sick and safe leave to covered employees. Second, the County altered the amount of tip credit that employers may use when calculating the minimum wage owed to tipped employees and created a related quarterly reporting requirement.

Recent Changes to Maryland Law Give Pregnant Employees and New Parents Enhanced Employment Protections

Executive Summary: In 2013, the Maryland legislature passed the Reasonable Accommodations for Disabilities Due to Pregnancy Act requiring employers with 15 or more employees to provide reasonable accommodation for individuals with a disability "caused or contributed to by pregnancy." Then, one year later, the legislature enacted the Maryland Parental Leave Act which requires employers with at least 15 employees in Maryland to provide eligible employees with six workweeks of unpaid leave for the birth or adoption of a child. These new statutes dramatically enhance the protections for pregnant employees and provide job-protected parental leave for both female and male employees.
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